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julie2s

Help with Alaska Cruise

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We are not first time cruisers but it will be our first time cruising to Alaska.  We are a mother/daughter celebrating our combined 100th birthday (I'm 61, she's 39) I am having trouble deciding which way to go.  I've previously sailed Holland America and am considering the Eurodam RT Seattle cruise (Glacier Bay is high on our list.) I've also sailed on Princess and am considering the Ruby Princess RT Seattle cruise as well as the cruise fare is somewhat lower.  Although the fare is a bit higher on HAL, they are offering a free Signature Drink Package versus the Princess offer of pre-paid gratuities (value of $14.50/pp/pd) I'm thinking that the drink package is a better deal, since I'm pretty sure our bar bill will exceed $14.50 per day.  The added benefit is that the Eurodam itinerary includes scenic cruising of Stephen's passage.  Wildlife viewing is important to my daughter.  Which would you think is the better option?  Many thanks for any guidance.

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Thank you so much, I'll try that.  Not going to lie I'm finding these boards very frustrating.

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Hi Julie

I would say that it looks pretty much like a toss up. 

Alaska cruises are sooo much about Alaska, that the ship is truly secondary (my opinion). 

Since you have to make a choice, first I would go over the itinerary very carefully. Examine the difference and look at the ports of call section on this site, to see if anything would tip in favor of one itinerary over the other. If that doesn't do it, go over all the details about each ship, to see if anything stands out. The worst that could happen is that you still can't make a decision. If that were to happen, just flip a coin. Either way you are going to have a good time. 

Personally, I would choose HAL over Princess almost every time, but that should mean little to nothing for you. My only Alaska cruise was with Carnival, and it was wonderful.

Have a great cruise

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Hi, Julie.  

I have cruised in Alaska 6 times.  (all on Celebrity)

I would recommend a north route or a south route vs any roundtrip. 

They (north or south) are JUST BETTER! :classic_biggrin:

Enjoy the planning! 

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I have completed 2 full Alaska seasons as a navigator many years ago and multiple more recent cruises as a passenger. Have also cruised the BC coast for > 30 years.

Both your options are R/T from Seattle, which in my experience provides the least favourable Alaska experience. Between Seattle & Alaskan waters you head out into the Pacific Ocean and you must also visit Victoria to comply with the US PVSA.

Ships based in Vancouver head up the inside passage, which is more sheltered and has an abundance of wildlife. Ships based in Vancouver provide R/T cruises and also N'bd & S'bd up to Prince William Sound. Personally, I would look for a N'bd or S'bd out of, or back to Vancouver.

With respect to HAL or Princess, they are both the Alaska experts, having spent the most years in Alaska. Princess started in the 70's. Both cruise lines also share the same management group. Therefore, I would pick which ever HAL or Princess ship has the best itinerary, time in port and dates.

Good luck finding a cruise.

 

 

 

 

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Julie  I just happen to be reviewing HAL posts for our next cruise and saw your  post. We went to Alaska last year on a 14 day HAL Amsterdam. It was great and we chose it because it went to Kodiak and Homer across the gulf of Alaska where most the cruise ships don't go. I just looked at the 2019 Eurodam itinerary and it go to Ketchikan, Sika and Juneau.  Nice ports but I am not sure how much wild life viewing there is. In Juneau they have an excursion to Mehdenhall glacier, and Nugget falls really nice. If you are adventuresome, instead of taking the excursion offered by the cruise line, we took the white bus, Juneau tours rt to the glacier for $30. each. Much cheaper. They have a pick up right at the port. Look at some of the reviews on Trip Advisor for each port, there is some real good information that might include wildlife viewing. if you can afford the time, I really recommend the 14 day Alaska cruise. Also there is a 7 day cruise RT Seattle on the Oosterdam  that has the same ports as the Eurodam but also cruises the Hubbard Glacier that is spectacular. Good luck. We love Holland America, medium size ships with great service. Next year, we are off to Iceland on the Zuiderdam I found part of my review, some of the information pertains to the Amsterdam  but has information on Juneau.

Review of 14 day Alaska cruise7-3-17.docx

Edited by mjcruise101
made change

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13 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

I have completed 2 full Alaska seasons as a navigator many years ago and multiple more recent cruises as a passenger. Have also cruised the BC coast for > 30 years.

Both your options are R/T from Seattle, which in my experience provides the least favourable Alaska experience. Between Seattle & Alaskan waters you head out into the Pacific Ocean and you must also visit Victoria to comply with the US PVSA.

Ships based in Vancouver head up the inside passage, which is more sheltered and has an abundance of wildlife. Ships based in Vancouver provide R/T cruises and also N'bd & S'bd up to Prince William Sound. Personally, I would look for a N'bd or S'bd out of, or back to Vancouver.

With respect to HAL or Princess, they are both the Alaska experts, having spent the most years in Alaska. Princess started in the 70's. Both cruise lines also share the same management group. Therefore, I would pick which ever HAL or Princess ship has the best itinerary, time in port and dates.

Good luck finding a cruise.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for the information. My original plan was to go from Vancouver and you’ve convinced me to go back to that plan. The issue is that we are flying from Boston so flights are a huge added expense. It might be cheaper to fly into Seattle and take the train to Vancouver. It’s just a challenge finding the balance between budget and wish list. 

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10 minutes ago, mjcruise101 said:

Julie  I just happen to be reviewing HAL posts for our next cruise and saw your  post. We went to Alaska last year on a 14 day HAL Amsterdam. It was great and we chose it because it went to Kodiak and Homer across the gulf of Alaska where most the cruise ships don't go. I just looked at the 2019 Eurodam itinerary and it go to Ketchikan, Sika and Juneau.  Nice ports but I am not sure how much wild life viewing there is. In Juneau they have an excursion to Mehdenhall glacier, and Nugget falls really nice. If you are adventuresome, instead of taking the excursion offered by the cruise line, we took the white bus, Juneau tours rt to the glacier for $30. each. Much cheaper. They have a pick up right at the port. Look at some of the reviews on Trip Advisor for each port, there is some real good information that might include wildlife viewing. if you can afford the time, I really recommend the 14 day Alaska cruise. Also there is a 7 day cruise RT Seattle on the Oosterdam  that has the same ports as the Eurodam but also cruises the Hubbard Glacier that is spectacular. Good luck. We love Holland America, medium size ships with great service. Next year, we are off to Iceland on the Zuiderdam I found part of my review, some of the information pertains to the Amsterdam  but has information on Juneau.

Review of 14 day Alaska cruise7-3-17.docx

 

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Thanks, MJCruise. As much as I would like, I don’t think a 14 day is within our budget. I couldn’t access the document you linked. Am I allowed to provide an email address for you to send it to? I’m sure it has a wealth of info. Once we decide on an itinerary then I’m hoping it will be easier to determine what to do at each port. 

Thanks again

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1 minute ago, julie2s said:

Thank you so much for the information. My original plan was to go from Vancouver and you’ve convinced me to go back to that plan. The issue is that we are flying from Boston so flights are a huge added expense. It might be cheaper to fly into Seattle and take the train to Vancouver. It’s just a challenge finding the balance between budget and wish list. 

In addition to the train, they have a bus from Seatac to Vancouver - Quick Shuttle. You could also check for flights into Bellingham, which is only 20 miles from the border, whereas Seatac is about 120 miles from the border.

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I would go back to the Vancouver departure, especially if you choose R/T.  My husband and I really liked the HAL Volendam R/T.  Good food, smaller ship, never felt crowded, and it leaves on a Wednesday.  Plus,  it goes to  Glacier Bay.  If you go later in the season, sign up for the excursion where you get off of the ship before Juneau and go up Tracy Arm Fjord to see Sawyer Glacier.  

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